Francesco Cavalieri di Suppé-Demelli was born in Split, then in the Austrian empire, and began composing as a boy. On moving to Vienna he changed his name to the more Germanic and less ostentatious Franz von Suppé and began conducting opera as well as writing over three hundred works of his own. Most are unperformed today though the overtures, such as Poet and Peasant and Pique Dame, are still very popular. The operetta Light Cavalry was written in 1866 with a plot concerning a love intrigue which is resolved by the Hungarian Hussars (Light Cavalry).
The Light Cavalry Overture consists of a fanfare, a faster section, and an Hungarian-styled slow section which are interspersed with the famous galop with its short, short long rhythm representing the beat of the horses’ hooves. This music has been much copied, parodied and often used for cartoons.